Geneva Convention for War Robots? Blockchains for central banks?

Field Notes on the Automation Trap (22 June 2016)

Your weekly notes on happenings, news, signals related to automation and alternative means on economic development. See more at The Automation Trap.

How do we include War Robots in the Geneva Conventions?

Sea Hunter, a new class of unmanned ocean-going vessel from the US Navy. (Photo: John F. Williams/Navy)


The prospect of autonomous weapons – drones that can decide to take a human life – is sounding more likely each day. Bonnie Docherty of Harvard’s International Human Rights Clinic makes the moral case for autonomous weapons disarmament. (Read more here).

Retaining human control over weapons is a moral imperative. Because they possess empathy, people can feel the emotional weight of harming another individual. Their respect for human dignity can – and should – serve as a check on killing.

Ninety-seven countries will meet in Geneva in 2017 to discuss for including a framework for disarmament of autonomous weapons within the international Convention on Conventional Weapons treaty.

Google is designing its own Moral Code for Robots

Researchers from Google’s DeepMind and the Future of Humanity Institute have published a paper outlining a software “killswitch” they claim can stop those instances of learning that could make an AI less useful — or, in the future, less safe. It’s really less a killswitch than a blind spot, removing from the AI the ability to learn the wrong lessons.

How and who should create moral and ethical frameworks for AI-based robots?

Read more at ExtremeTech.

Your Google Searches can reveal what diseases you have…

…Actually, its your “Bing Searches.” Microsoft is studying if your online searches queries on Bing can be used to diagnose what diseases you may have. (Read more here)

In a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of Oncology Practice, the trio detailed how they used anonymized Bing search logs to identify people whose queries provided strong evidence that they had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – a particularly deadly and fast-spreading cancer that is frequently caught too late to cure. Then they retroactively analyzed searches for symptoms of the disease over many months prior to identify patterns of queries most likely to signal an eventual diagnosis.

Could blockchain technology could help prevent the next financial crisis?

Alex Tapscott, co-author of the Blockchain Revolution, shares with Quartz on how blockchain technologies can provide for greater bank transparency and maybe even averting the next financial crisis. (Read more here)

When it comes to financial stability, if regulators like the Federal Reserve or the People’s Bank in China, could get a window into the dealings of large financial firms and see the same shared ledger that the banks did, they would know whether or not too much risk was being taken in the system, whether or not there were liquidity crunches in the system, whether or not there were troubled banks or shadow banks that needed support or a slap on the wrist.








One response to “Geneva Convention for War Robots? Blockchains for central banks?”

  1. […] Today, over 80 militaries now using drones and growing. And now, with some AI software and $25 in hardware, we could transform traditional human-controlled combat planes to world-class automation combat drones. This makes the UN discussions for banning automation combat drones ever the more urgent (see more in the 22nd June Field Notes). […]

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